Fake medicine, the future of farming, meat grown in vats, and what’s the cost of research?

Monday 16 August 2021

Highlights from day three of National Science Week

404 events and exhibitions, 228 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • ACT: Spot the scammers and dodgy docs
  • VIC: Understanding climate change through rock art
  • NSW: Cellular agriculture: meat grown in vats
  • QLD: The future of sustainable agriculture
  • VIC: Fake caviar and other delectable lab foods
  • VIC: Why does research cost so much?

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

National Science Week 2021 runs from 14 to 22 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

More about the event highlights

Exposing the quacks – online (ACT)

Science communicator and GP, Dr Brad Mckay is warning us not to trust Dr Google.

His new book “Fake Medicine: Exposing the wellness crazes, cons and quacks” investigates the myths, scams and fads of modern health and wellbeing.

He’s available to discuss how to spot the charlatans, dodgy practitioners and avoid fad diets.

Canberra Skeptics hosts Dr McKay for an online ‘Fake Medicine’ talk and Q&A this National Science Week.

Monday 16 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/fake-medicine-exposing-the-wellness-crazes-cons-and-quacks-costing-us-our-health/

Media enquiries: Jemma Ferreira Rowe, jemma.ferreira-rowe@hachette.com.au or 02 8248 0800

Dr McKay is available for interviews

Growing no-kill meats – online (NSW)

Scientist are turning to no-kill or cruelty free meat to help feed the world.

Researchers are helping farmers pivot – with cells grown in vats creating cultured meat.

UNSW food science researcher Johannes le Coutre and food journalist Joanna Savill are experts in cellular agriculture.

Ask them how meat is grown in vats, who’s going to eat it and what it tastes like.

Monday 16 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/the-future-of-food/

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, laura@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0408 166 426

Johannes le Coutre is available for media interviews.

Is there bang for the research buck? – online (VIC)

The Australian Government spends upwards of three billion dollars a year on research.

Decades can be spent on a single project. Then there are the human costs and ethical quandaries.

Is research worth it?

Available for interview:

  • Biomedical ethicist Dr Christopher Gyngell
  • Physicist and dark matter detective Professor Elisabetta Barberio
  • Mathematical biologist and Gomeroi man Dr Jared Field, who provides a perspective on research involving Indigenous peoples.

Monday 16 August. Event details:


Media enquiries: Daryl Holland, daryl.holland@unimelb.edu.au or 0434 952 009.

Fishless ‘caviar’ – Mt Helen, VIC

Experts in food science and technology are available to share recipes of the amazing foods that can be made in a lab, using ordinary ingredients.

FedUni Food scientists reveal the secrets to creating a delectable treat – science cream topped off with melt-in-the-mouth, counterfeit caviar.

They’re holding a hands-on class on how to create amazing flavours in a laboratory.

Sunday 15 August to Tuesday 17 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/foodology-labs-science-cream-secrets/mt-helen/

Media enquiries: Stephanie Davison, s.davison@federation.edu.au, or 03 5327 9373

The science behind Central Queensland’s great foods – online (QLD)

Central Queensland is a rich source of a wide range of food from beef to black sesame seeds – and even Bundaberg ginger beer.

The region ships mangoes and market vegetables around the country and beyond. But the growth and sustainability of the region’s agricultural economy relies heavily on science and innovation.

The CQUniversity Festival of Food highlights what is being done through a series of engaging scientific experiments for students and the broader community.

Industry, the education sector, and university experts will work together to develop the content, giving people a unique opportunity to explore the science behind Bundaberg food production, Gladstone’s fisheries, the Rockhampton beef industry, Mackay sugar production, and more.

Monday 16 – Friday 20 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/cq-festival-of-food-the-scientific-processes-involved-in-food/

Media enquiries: Linda Pfeiffer, 07 4970 7205, 0411547848 or l.pfeiffer@cqu.edu.au

Schooled by Australia’s rock art – Online (VIC)

Dating Australia’s rock art can help us understand climate and environmental changes

Scientific techniques have been used to date Australia’s rock art and why they remain significant.

Dr Helen Green is available to discuss how traditional knowledge can be integrated into western science.

Monday 16 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/mid-afternoon-masterclass-dating-australias-rock-art/

Media enquiries: Daryl Holland, daryl.holland@unimelb.edu.au or 0434 952 009.

More about National Science Week

National Science Week 2021 runs from 14 to 22 August. First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year about 1.1 million people participated in more than 1200 events, despite a global pandemic.

In 2021 there will be online events, virtual tours and experiences, DIY science and home-based activities held all around Australia. And there are some in-person events planned in line with local pandemic restrictions.  Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au; public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.